HearthStone is an online collectible card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game features characters and artifacts from their Warcraft series. As this game was released on both PC and mobile phones, it features cross-platform, which is only limited by the region of the account.
HearthStone is a turn-based game, where two players play against each other, by picking a character and building a 30 card deck before the match. During the match, each turn players gain a certain amount of blue mana crystals, that can be utilised to play their cards or to perform unique character abilities, as the winning condition of the match is to get the opponent's health to zero.
HearthStone in Esports
Due to how easy it was to start playing this game and the short matches, the game was a huge success, with Blizzard hosting an exhibition tournament “The Innkeeper's Invitational” in November 2013, featuring a rule set that would later become the staple for HearthStone World Championship: best-of-five matches, and three different classes with their decks.
The game held World Championships at the yearly BlizzCon event, until 2018, where it had been decided to move it to January, to better suit the Standard mode rotation, which introduced new expansions throughout the year.
The 2018's World Championship featured a prize pool of $1,000,000.
Currently, Blizzard is implementing a new format for the way HearthStone will be played on a professional level, with the new ecosystem featuring a $4 million in prizes, which could reignite the interest for bookmakers to offer HearthStone more frequently.
As of May 2019, GrandMasters is the top tier for professional players to be able to compete against each other. Aside from the seasoned veterans, who got invited to this tier directly, players from across the world can now participate in qualifiers, from which the top performers will be able to compete in the live global tournaments, that will be held 3 times a year, with a prize pool of $250,000. Those who succeed in these tournaments will be able to join the GrandMasters tier.
GrandMasters is currently divided into three regions: EMEA, Americas and Asia-Pacific.
This seasonal tournament features 16 players split into two groups, who compete in a Double Round Robin for two months.
The top 3 of each group then proceed to the playoffs, and the winner of the playoffs wins the trip to the HearthStone Global Finals, with a $500,000 prize pool, that is to be played at the end of the year.
“Knowledge is power, and I know a lot” - Dalaran's Aspirant
As with any Esports, before you start betting, you should first learn the ropes of how this game works, what cards to build for which characters, what is considered “meta” at the time, and which card decks are meant for a fast-paced strategy, and which require a more drawn-out and slower duel.
With this game being free-to-play, early on Blizzard started introducing expansions – additions to the lore of HearthStone, that introduce new balance changes, character changes, and new cards, that could make older card builds less impactful, and introduce new card decks.
Due to this, once you have decided which tournaments to follow, big or small, you need to start learning as to which players prefer to play which characters and card decks. Luckily, you can find videos of most professional players online, giving an opportunity to learn their playstyle and give an edge while betting.
Main Betting Markets
One of the most common markets, that came over from the traditional sports.
This is the market, where you simply bet on which team will reign victorious by the end of the game.
As almost all of the HearthStone tournaments feature a best-of-five or best-of-three match format, it should be awaited that a market for a map total (over/under) will be featured. In this market you bet on whether the condition will be over or under the figure set by the bookmaker.
Betting on outrights is similar to traditional sports betting, where you don't bet on a particular match, but on the outcome of the whole event.
This type of market is much more prone to player errors, as this market goes for a longer period of time, during which a player you've placed a bet on, could have a hiccup during a tournament but eventually come back and win the competition.